'Syria envoy meets with Assad to push for Id truce'

State TV reports Brahimi presses President Bashar Assad in Damascus for four day ceasefire during Islamic festival.

By REUTERS
October 21, 2012 09:19
2 minute read.
Syria's FM Moualem meets UN-AL peace envoy

Brahimi and Syrian FM 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Khaled Al Hariri)

DAMASCUS - International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, who is pressing for a temporary ceasefire in Syria's civil war, met President Bashar Assad in Damascus on Sunday, state television said.

It gave no details of the talks.

On Saturday, Brahimi met Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem in Damascus on Saturday, to press for the ceasefire between President Bashar Assad's forces and rebels seeking his overthrow.

Brahimi has called for a ceasefire during next week's Islamic Id al-Adha to stem the bloodshed in a 19-month-old conflict which activists say has killed at least 30,000 people and claimed the

Syria's Information Minister Omran Zoabi condemned the bombing. "We condemn this terrorist explosion and all these explosions wherever they happen. Nothing justifies them," he told reporters on Friday.

Next week's truce would be self-imposed, with no international observers, and there has been no sign of a reduction in violence ahead of the Eid.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported heavy clashes on the main north-south highway connecting Damascus with Aleppo on Saturday. The highway town of Maarat al-Numan and villages around it in Idlib were shelled, as a part of a several-day campaign after rebels took it a week ago.

The United States has repeatedly said it believes Assad must step down to allow for a political transition in Syria, and blamed Russia and China for blocking moves at the UN Security Council aimed at increasing pressure on his government.

Russia and China, joined by Iran, say they are opposed to foreign intervention in Syria and accuse Western powers of working with Arab allies in the Gulf to support Syria's armed opposition in a conflict that appears to be heading toward a sectarian proxy war.


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